Getting a mentor is a shortcut to success, they say. But the road to being a true golf coach is challenging and exhilarating. It makes you fall in love with the game and lose yourself in its nuances.
Becoming a golf instructor involves practising the game, learning its mechanics elaborately and finding ways to inspire your pupils. It’s an art as much as it’s a science. As you start dwelling into the swing analysis, you stumble upon these little secrets. You start enjoying the game both as a player and as a coach. You start exploring the game like a mere golfer never would.
In this post, we try to chalk out a general path to become a golf coach. The true talent of a coach lies in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the students and helping them realize these. The innate quality of being able to ‘mentor’ should be present in you to enable a complete knowledge transfer. Patience is the key. As you learn golf, with good observation skills you start learning the art of teaching too. A great golf coach can teach you much about golf and golf coaching.
Hopefully, we will help you realize this hidden potential of yours!.
What Will You Need To Become A Golf Instructor?
- Golf Kit
- Networking Skills
- Golf Instructor Certification
- Internet Connection
Don’t get us wrong, patience is not something you suddenly sprout. But the process of learning and practising golf to become a golf coach inculcates patience. You need patience to observe the intricacies of the game. You need patience to understand the pitfalls of your students’ gameplay. You need patience to explain the techniques and corrective actions to them.
Fortunately, as you realize the beauty of the game, you are most likely to build this patience. If not, you might end up de-motivating the golfers.
Golf coaching is an art of inspiring the golfers to push the boundaries. The more enthusiastic you are about the game, the more the spirit seeps into your pupils. Motivation is the key when the players’ performance seems to be plateauing. Besides, enthused students tend to experiment and take greater risks in their field. They tend to be more confident once they step out of the instructor’s purview.
If you want to teach, you need to learn first. You need everything a golfer needs to learn and more: golf inside out. Golf clubs, golf memberships, other golf gear etc. will be required. It would be optimum if you have a good golf coach in the early years of practice. How he/she instructs you will positively affect your coaching methods too.
Being a golf instructor, you will have to approach prospective clients or great golfers to understand their gameplay. A pleasant personality and good networking skills help you until you are famous enough that people seek you out.
Golf Instructor Certification
People like seeing official proof that you know what you are teaching. Many organizations offer golf coach certifications that look decisive on your resume. They also train you before the certification which helps you understand the game better. Golf certification is a sure-shot way of drawing the attention of student golfers.
Literally all the information you need about instructing and learning golf is available online. Apart from our own site, we have covered the best golf websites here. Each website has resources of different kind. They explain the quirks of genius golfers. Sites like thehackersparadise.com give you insights into the shaft technology and swing mechanics
Step by step instructions
Here’s how a successful journey to becoming a golf instructor roughly looks like:
1. Find a Coach
Impressive teaching finds its roots in solid learning. A good golf coach will instill curiosity and confidence in your moves. Watching them analyze your game strategy and swing will help you learn the art as well. Good teachers always inspire their students to become better teachers too. Finding a great golf instructor is easy in the age of interweb:
- You can check the PGA.com website. Enter your area details and requirements at www.pga.com/golf-instruction/find-instructor. They will immediately come up with PGA-certified coaches in your area. Be ready to shell out big bucks if you want a pro coach with famous clientele.
- There are sites like learnivores.com . You can find instructors for a particular field in your zipcode by entering the details here.
- Talk to the folks at the local golf courses, schools where golf is played and universities near you. Golf coaches looking for students are likely to leave their details in such places. Other golfers in the area will also know good golf coaches from their repute.
2. Learn the game
If you are aiming to be a golf instructor, work harder than someone aiming to be a pro golf player. Golf coaches need to fathom their game and the gameplay of other people. So start practising golf vigorously. Study your own swing and the swing of the golf instructor. Don’t just blindly follow your coach. Understand the mechanics behind his instructions.
- You can buy a putting mat for home or create a putting green in your backyard for year-round practice.
- Practice as much as you can. The public golf courses offer you a cost-effective way of playing golf regularly. We have covered the best public golf courses in the Dallas-FortWorth area here.
- Play with diverse teams, with golfers of all capability levels and temperaments. This allows you to learn from the good ones and be patient with the high-handicap golfers.
3. Analyze the game
Physics governs all aspects of golf unlike with Diego Maradona in football. To become a golf instructor, you need a good grip on the physics of the swing and the shot. Concepts like swing weight, shaft rotation, the center of gravity, the moment of inertia will be revisited. And this time on, they will be fun to learn because of their practical manifestation.
- As we always emphasize, every small detail in golf matters. Closing-opening clubface, in-to-out and out-to-in swing arcs, backspin, tee height and even ball position are important. Learn how these things matter in different situations.
- Learn about ball flight, how its dimples help and how it can be controlled. Learn the trade-off between control and distance. By the end of your training, you should be able to govern the ball rather than the other way round.
- Learn to improve both the short game and driving. Understand that both parts of the game are important. Being a great driver alone will only get you to the greenside. Rest is all about the short game.
- Follow golf tutorials where they discuss the techniques rather than just give a straight tip and demonstrations. Meandmygolf is one such channel.
4. Observe others’ training
Watching how other golfers are being trained early on in your career helps you be a better golf coach. You learn the game and you learn the teaching methodologies. Observing your own trainer will reap benefits when you are training others. Conflict resolution and ways to completely transfer your ideas to the golfer will help.
5. Get a job on a golf establishment
A part-time job or internship at a golf facility: be it a golf course, a pro shop, an equipment shop or an apprentice to a golf coach will enrich your golf database. It also helps you land certifications later. Being around the golf course leads you into many realizations that no amount of YouTube videos can bring.
An important aspect that’s often left out of the guides to becoming a golf instructor is knowing the USGA rulebook verbatim. We take many freedoms while practising golf like carrying 15 clubs, wearing shorts etc.. Golf associations like PGA are notorious for sticking to weird rules that can cost you a major championship. Professional golfers are also subjected to TV viewers’ scrutiny as demonstrated by Lexi Thompson’s trial by a TV viewer.
7. Play in tournaments
No golfer pupil will take you seriously unless you have tournament experience under the belt. To gain their respect, they must believe that you have undergone the rigors of playing golf in public glare. That you have felt the same kind of pressure to make the most of your next shot. That you have felt the game slipping out of your hands in front of 1000s of people. So..
- Start off with local tournaments. Improve your chances of being spotted by a great coach at these events.
- Move on to regional and national tournaments. If you want to be a celebrity golf instructor, you must have a great national track record.
- Also, observe the great professional players at these events. Approach them and their coaches in their leisure time.
To legitimize your golf coach career, as certification or golf instructor qualification will go a long way. Usually, these certifications involve some training and multiple levels of proficiency:
- In the US, the United States Golf Teachers Federation(USGTF) is the largest national alliance of certified golf teaching professionals. It offers three levels of certification in golf instruction. They offer both online and onsite options. You can get certified for the first two levels at your own pace.
- Europe has the European Golf Teachers Federation which has many accelerated golf instructor training courses. They train golf coaches in Europe and abroad.
- You can become a golf teaching pro with the PGA(Professional Golf Association). They require you to have a golf-related employment of at least 6 months and a high school diploma or 18 years of life under the belt.
- There are also university courses and certifications in golf coaching. The University of Birmingham provides advanced certification in golf coaching. Newman University offers Sports Coaching Science and Tournament Golf BSc. for 3 years.
9. Start coaching
- You can start off by coaching acquaintances in golf. It will help you gain experience and the pupil to gain perspective.
- Look out for golf instructors’ posts in local schools and universities that promote golf. These might not be as lucrative initially but you have to start somewhere.
- Move on to local golf courses and country clubs. Use your past experience and certifications to land a job with them. They might offer you other roles like an apprenticeship and be caddying as you wait for openings. If you can, take these opportunities.
10. Own golf coaching center
In cahoots with the local golf courses or other facilities, you can start your own golf training school. This way, clients will seek you out rather than the other way round. The step is risky but rewarding. You get to manage your own schedule and regulate your student intake.
11. Professional Golf Coach
Even Tiger Woods has his own coach. Some of the professional golf coaches are more famous than other pro golfers. Take Hank Haney for example.
Professional golfers often pick their coaches from the PGA-certified pool. Professional golfers are capable of analyzing and improving their own game. They go to a coach looking for motivation, comforting and some secret of success they don’t already have. Sometimes another person’s perspective is all you need to get better at your game. Hence the high demand for professional golf instructors to high-profile players.
Here’s something that makes a great golf coach gain the edge:
Don’t just stand mutely and pass instructions. Help the golfer by positioning the club right. Correct their stance. Be physically involved in the teaching.
Passing on knowledge can redeem you in many ways. No matter how much the job pays, coaching is actually a selfless service. Golf coaches have the ability to shape the golfer’s personality and temperament on the course. 50% of golf is played in the mind, so an instructor’s contribution to the golfer’s game is valuable. Being a golf coach is a vocation of sorts. You need to have the right chemistry with the players. You need to get into their minds and understand the game from their point of view.
Being a golf coach at any level requires you to completely know the game. Based on the level of players you want to instruct, you will have to build your qualifications and experience. You need to be proactive in your search for prospective clients. In this post, we described all these steps and the parties to approach. For more elaborate information, you can post your queries in the comment section. If you found it helpful share the article with fellow golfers and golf coaches-to-be.